Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A very sad day for the city

Last night, the Concord School Board voted 7 to 2 to demolish the historic Kimball and Conant elementary schools in favor of building new schools on the current footprints. The two "no" votes were Eric Williams and Laura Bonk. Williams wanted to renovate the school while Bonk opposed the decision because she didn't think the site was big enough to accommodate the larger school.
It certainly is a very sad day for the city when so many elected officials can ignore our history (and fiscal status) and vote in such a way. As I have stated before, it's shocking that anyone in their right mind would vote to demolish two structurally sound buildings. Since when did the yuppies in our community decide they could throw out 80 to 100 years worth of history on a whim? Most of them don't realize that by the time the buildings are built, their elementary school children will be at Rundlett Middle School, which will soon need more work or need to be split because it is too big (but guess what? There isn't going to be any money left after this monstrosity). Our children will be corralled into massive "state-of-the-art" schools with no real educational improvements inside of the buildings. It's a damn shame.
All the information gathered by their own processes point to other conclusions. Even when they rigged the outcome, the studies don't lie. But, again, like I have said for a number of years, it was a predetermined outcome. Once the board voted for the initial concept of eight to four, instead of properly planning for the future from Day 1, there really was no turning back. There really was no true investigation of alternatives or planning to come up with the best possible outcome for everyone.
Here is what is most hilarious - or sad, if you think about it - even as they plan for the new buildings, they are already cutting corners in order to bring the costs down below renovation, in order to act as if they are saving us money! One of the architects admitted such the other night. Instead of allowing the creative people to plan what is best for our children, they worried only about costs. When you're blowing through $150 million, what's another million or two? So, all of you who wanted this monstrosity, guess what? You're not really going to get "state-of the art" or what is best, you're getting the cheapest version of the most expensive option. Slight of hand tricks and political bullshit. What a bunch of suckers.
Unfortunately, people who have to pay for this are the real victims here. They will be the ones creamed by this decision, especially when the state says, "Sorry, we're ending the school building aid program ..." You know they're going to too, don'tcha? That will be the laugh then, huh? Will anyone be able to afford Concord Monitor subscriptions after that taxes go up to make up the difference?
Bonk, who has been an engineer for more than 20 years, truly seems to get it. The Kimball footprint is too small and the school district does not have the capability to manage three building projects at once. While we may not agree with her on everything, she has been one of the lone voices of sanity in this entire thing. It's amazing that someone with so much knowledge about building structures could be so easily ignored.
There are so many reasons to be furious about this decision. The cost, the destruction of history, the buildings aren't truly as green as they can be, etc., ad nauseam. But, instead, let's just have a moment of silence for the sad state of our community. Lord, please, give us the strength and wisdom to get through the future in one piece. We're really going to need it.


Anonymous said...

It is a great day for the city and more importantly the children on Concord, and the future generations.

Tony said...

We'll agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

If the people of Concord were given a chance to vote on this plan, how do you think they would vote?

Ben Venator said...

The only thing close to a referendum on this topic was a meeting four or five years ago in the Conant (or Rundlett gym) and the straw poll was in favor of renovation.

Tony said...

I think if there were a referendum on this, it would probably be rejected. Would it be overwhelming? I don't know. It would depend on turnout. It would depend on when the election was held. It would depend on whether or not the media coverage of the referendum was fair or slanted. I'll write about this some more in the future.